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Amazon’s Warehouse Wearables Promote Worker Safety

Amazon is testing a wearable device that will alert warehouse workers when they are violating social distancing rules.  In addition, Amazon is experimenting with cameras equipped with social distancing software to improve safety.

The data collected from these technologies will help with contact tracing if the need arises.  Amazon has already made some workers responsible for monitoring social distancing for warehouses nationwide in an effort to minimize virus spread.

Video Spotlight: 

This post is based on the CNBC article, Amazon is testing a wearable device that lights up and beeps when warehouse workers get too close to each other, by Annie Palmer, June 16, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Trio Images/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1.  What are the additional benefits to Amazon by improving worker safety?

Guidance: Students may want to review the Triple Bottom Line and focus on the social and environmental aspects related to this situation, and explore the ergonomics involved in wearing an extra device.  Student discussion should include the ability to keep the warehouse operating should a virus outbreak occur by being able to contact trace and limit the scope of workers required to be absent.

Additional topics that are likely to be relevant include working with any unions, public goodwill, and potential impact on recruiting and retaining workers

2. Amazon is testing new technology in this article.  What project management methodology best fits this situation?

Guidance: Students should recognize that the Agile method is preferable over the traditional Waterfall method given the need to rapidly develop the technology for deployment throughout the company.  Amazon is prototyping this system and using feedback to iteratively improve the system as stated in the article.  This is another hallmark of Agile development.

This tangent to the article offers a good chance to review both methods and emphasize the pros and cons of each.

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July 13, 2020 Newsletter
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